Opendata, web and dolomites


Testing the role of thermo-chemical piles in the generation and continuation of plate tectonics

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "TEROPPLATE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: DURHAM
postcode: DH1 3LE

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 195˙454 €
 EC max contribution 195˙454 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2016
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-RI
 Starting year 2018
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2018-02-01   to  2020-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM UK (DURHAM) coordinator 195˙454.00


 Project objective

The mechanics of plate tectonics (the movement of the Earth's surface) is a fundamental scientific question in understanding the recycling of mantle volatiles in processes that affect habitability. The emergence of plate tectonics on Earth set the planet apart from others in our solar system allowing for the propagation of life, yet the fundamentals of how it all began remain unresolved. Present-day geophysical imaging of the deep mantle show anomalous chemical piles thought to originate from the beginnings of Earth. Recently, consensus has been reached that the chemical piles can impact, and be impacted by, plate tectonic processes. However, their interaction with mantle convection in a pre-plate tectonic early Earth is not well known. In this study, state of the art numerical experiments will be designed and implemented to offer the first investigation into what role deep chemical heterogeneities play in the initial breaking of the lithosphere (to initiate a form of plate tectonics). Furthermore, a numerical analysis into the evolution of temperature and mantle dynamics in the early Earth will be conducted to assess a range of geodynamic scenarios previously hypothesized. This fellowship is timely as it complements a number of recent developments in early Earth tectonics, numerical modelling, and in knowledge of thermo-chemical pile behaviour.

Returning to the EU, the applicant will expand his ability to design, program, and develop large-scale numerical models using high performance computing gained from doctoral and post-doctoral experiences in Canada. This project allows for the applicant to reintegrate into EU academia, and contribute his acquired research skills. The expertise of the contributors and the design of the research will provide the applicant with new knowledge and experience in early Earth geophysics and geochemistry. As a result, the fellowship will augment the applicant's skill set ready for the next step of an independent research career.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Philip J Heron
Unlocking the doors to education for prisoners
published pages: 5.13-5.13, ISSN: 1366-8781, DOI: 10.1093/astrogeo/atz173
Astronomy & Geophysics 60/5 2020-04-24
2019 P. J. Heron, A. L. Peace, K. J. W. McCaffrey, J. K. Welford, R. Wilson, J. Hunen, R. N. Pysklywec
Segmentation of Rifts Through Structural Inheritance: Creation of the Davis Strait
published pages: 2411-2430, ISSN: 0278-7407, DOI: 10.1029/2019tc005578
Tectonics 38/7 2020-04-24
2020 Philip J. Heron
Teaching geoscience in prison
published pages: 88-88, ISSN: 2662-138X, DOI: 10.1038/s43017-020-0020-7
Nature Reviews Earth & Environment 1/2 2020-04-24
2019 Philip J. Heron
Mantle plumes and mantle dynamics in the Wilson cycle
published pages: SP470.18, ISSN: 0305-8719, DOI: 10.1144/sp470.18
Geological Society, London, Special Publications 2020-04-24
2019 Philip Heron; Edward Garnero
What lies beneath: Thoughts on the lower mantle
published pages: 10-15, ISSN: 0961-5628, DOI: 10.1144/geosci2019-015
Geoscientist 29/3 2020-04-24
2018 P.J. Heron, R.N. Pysklywec, R. Stephenson, J. van Hunen
Deformation driven by deep and distant structures: Influence of a mantle lithosphere suture in the Ouachita orogeny, southeastern United States
published pages: 147-150, ISSN: 0091-7613, DOI: 10.1130/g45690.1
Geology 47/2 2020-04-24

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